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Evaluate my $2000 i7 gaming rig

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  • Intel i7
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Last response: in Systems
May 22, 2009 3:13:40 PM


BUDGET RANGE: approx. US$2000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, music, movies, internets

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard and mouse


PARTS PREFERENCES: i7 for processor, ATI video cards





Here's what I have so far, feel free to suggest alternatives.

CPU: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz
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Mobo: ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58
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RAM: OCZ XMP Ready Series 6GB (3 x 2GB)
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Case: Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX
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PSU: Antec TPQ-850 850W Continuous Power ATX12V / EPS12V
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GPU: 2x SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB in Crossfire
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HDD1: for OS/apps Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB 10000 RPM SATA
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HDD2: for storage Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA
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Monitor: SAMSUNG 2433BW High Glossy Black 24" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor
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Miscellaneous parts:

2x to fill out the last two fan slots in the case

CPU cooling:

Thermal compound:

Totals to just over US$2000. I've got a few combos lined up in my newegg cart, so don't worry about those.

So how does all this work? Generally I'm looking for a system that will pretty much demolish current games at great resolutions.

My major concerns at this point are whether both of those video cards will fit in Crossfire, and also whether the CPU cooler will fit in the case with the side fan. So far it seems like both are not issues according to what I've been reading, but if anyone else has stories or insights I would appreciate it.

More about : evaluate 2000 gaming rig

May 22, 2009 3:31:18 PM

id personally swap that psu for the cheaper corsiar 850w atx on new egg its

$134.49 ($114.49 after $20.00 Mail-In) saving yourself $65

i would also then swap that velociraptor for another wd caviar black and run them in raid, saving yourself another $100

i would then take that $165 and upgrade from 2 x 4870s and get 2 x 4890s
May 22, 2009 3:45:34 PM

Is there not a really noticeable difference between 10k rpm and 7.2k rpm HDDs? A friend of mine told me it was a pretty good idea, but if it's BS then I'd go a cheaper route.
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May 22, 2009 3:51:13 PM

wel it will only literally shave seconds off load times, hardly noticeable. i mean im runnin 1 x 640gb black and its running pretty darn fast as it is let alone in raid with another. id personally spend that extra buck in departments where gaming matters ie the graphics cards. plus the fact that your gettin twice as much storage with the WD black.

oh and another note spend a bit more cash on the noctua NH-U12P SE1366 its the best cooler for money imo, and does a fantastic job at cooling the i7
May 22, 2009 3:56:24 PM

Problem with that cooler is that I've been reading it doesn't fit very well in the Antec 1200, some users have said they need to mod the fans on the case to get it to fit. I would go with it, but I'm not comfortable cutting up case fans just to fit in a cooler.

Thanks for the tip on the HDD, raid def. looks the way to go if that's the case.
May 22, 2009 4:07:58 PM

well tbh you should easily get that fan into the antec 1200? i mean it fits comfortably into my slightly smaller coolermaster 690 (which ive gota say is a great price for the money).

but id definately go down the route of the slightly cheaper psu and HDDs and get those beasty 2 x 4890s running in crossfire :D 
May 22, 2009 4:14:46 PM

It has to do with the placement of the side fan in the 1200, I think. It might be different for different mobos, as well. In any case the black knight seems to work very well and is shorter and cheaper.

I switched to the following:

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2x Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA in RAID 0
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2x SAPPHIRE 100269SR Radeon HD 4890 1GB in Crossfire
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May 22, 2009 4:17:35 PM

yeah ive read reviews on the darknight when considering my build and they are pretty good. plus cooling shouldnt be an issue with the antec 1200 in any case. gl with the build and remeber to wear an anti-static bracelet or of somekind. drop us a message and let us know how you get on once its finished :) 
May 22, 2009 4:20:51 PM

switch the two WDC black 640's to Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB's since they are faster then VRaptor's and you get more space for a bit more.

also a 4870 X2 might be a better idea than 2 4890's as they are cheaper and won't show a major drop in performance, especially if you overclock it.
May 22, 2009 4:35:34 PM

Those Samsungs have a purchase limit of 1, unfortunately. Also, how much faster are they, is there a link somewhere to a performance comparison?
May 22, 2009 4:45:24 PM

I decided against the 4870 X2 because of the overheating horror stories I've been hearing all over the place, plus the fact that newegg apparently has a great combo deal with a factory overclocked version of the 4890 that seems to have less issues.
May 22, 2009 4:49:30 PM

i doubt it would run any faster or slower, you will notice the samung has 16mb cache and the WD's have 32mb cache, tho the performance differnce again would be unoticeable, it justs comes down to better value for your money. im not sure about samsugs warranty, but WD offer 5 yrs for peace of mind.

but overall it comes down to personal choice :D 
May 22, 2009 5:27:46 PM

^ nope, the samsung F1's have 32MB of cache and run at a read rate of 93MB/s average and 123MB/s max.
May 22, 2009 6:17:50 PM

Where are you getting that info? newegg shows those drives at 16MB.
May 22, 2009 6:21:01 PM

i think newegg only stock the 16mb versions, or the fact that its either a wrong description or they are dam hard to find on the site lol. but they do, do a 32mb look on tomshardware charts. either choice wont be a bad 1 so your in a win win situation (provided you can get ur hands on the 32mb version)
May 22, 2009 7:06:16 PM

^ since the F1 32MB's are in VRaptor territory, a bit faster than the WDC black version too.
May 22, 2009 7:36:27 PM

Any opinion on the new Seagate 7200.12 series? Seems to be highly rated and performs well on the benchmarks on this site.
May 22, 2009 8:22:46 PM

Similar to my recent build except I went nvidia with 2x 260's, vigor monsoon, 1tb caviar black, and ocz vertex ssd 60gb.

Would also recommend the corsair 850, I went with the 1000 because I prefer modular and went antec 900 so cabling was a little tighter. Should be a solid build when you find the right drives, I'm partial to WD.
May 22, 2009 8:32:18 PM

I know the 7200.11 series had major driver issues, so mainly I'm curious as to whether those have been resolved in the newer versions. I'm actually partial to WD as well, so if people don't know yet I'll probably still go with the 2x 640GB caviar blacks.

At this point my main motivation for going ATI is that I've heard great things about their cards in Crossfire, and I've been running an 8800 GTS for a couple of years that has been stable but has also seen some stuttering problems off and on.
May 26, 2009 4:45:05 PM

I'm pulling the trigger on this later today, so unless anyone has any further suggestions, I'm going with 2x WD Black Caviar 640GB in Raid 0 in addition to everything discussed above.

Thanks all for your help, I'll let you know how the build goes!
May 26, 2009 8:41:23 PM

Excellent build I would say but if you already spend that amount of money, i would get SOLID STATE drive as your boot/system drive (not storage), get like a 128gb solid state for all your applications, because it will blow away any velici... raptor hard drive with a tiny 10k rpm in terms of speed. For all storage and multimedia just get a normal hard drive. And make absolutely sure that all you hard drives are connect through SATA NOT USB, SATA is far far far faster then USB and will help make transfer speeds between hard drives lightning fast. I am come on your 10k rpm can transfer what...250mb/s like a turtle, some good solid states can get over a 1gb/s and some up to 3gb/s so think about it.